I am ever the last one to jump upon a trend, and ‘nduja is no longer the new kid on the block, beloved by the trendier food bloggers. Now it appears on the Pizza Express menu (my favoured pizza for my buy-one-get-one-free-Orange-Wednesday outing), so it is dead mainstream. (Of course I could pretend that I am too cool to be cool, and am deliberately adopting it at a later date.)
For those not in the know, ‘nduja is a spreadable spicy pork sausage from Calabria (the very tip of the toe of the kicking foot of Italy). We’ve been using it on pizzas, with pasta, in a beany dip and in this gratin.
My ‘nduja gratin was inspired by the Swedish dish of Jansson’s temptation, a gratin of potatoes, onions, sprats (usually mistranslated to anchovies in English) and cream. Like in the Jansson’s temptation where a small amount of anchovies go a long way and flavours the whole dish, so does the ‘nduja; making this both frugal and delicious. Maybe I should call this Giuseppe’s Temptation?
Some recipes call for heating the milk and cream before pouring over the potatoes, I skip this and save on the washing up, just cook it for another few minutes.
- 2 medium potatoes King Edward or Maris Piper, peeled and in 5mm slices
- 2 small sweet potatoes peeled and in 5mm slices
- glug olive oil
- 1 small onion sliced
- 100 ml double cream
- 100 ml milk
- thin slice ‘nudja – about a tablespoon full
- 1 oz / 25 g hard cheese grated – I used cheddar
Heat oven to 190c / 375F / GM 5. Boil the potatoes for 3 mins to soften a little, then drain.
Meanwhile fry the onion in the butter and the olive oil for about 5 minutes until softened.
Oil a gratin dish and layer the potatoes and onion adding little dots of the ‘nduja, seasoning each layer with a little salt and pepper, pour the cream and milk over. Top with more ‘nudja and the grated cheese.
Bake for about 40 mins, until a the potatoes are soft and the top is golden.
The ‘Nduja was sent by Unearthed Foods who have a wide range of tapas like world foods.
Review: Unearthed Foods
Italian Prosciutto Crudo and Prosciutto Di San Daniele
Of these two, the ham from San Daniele, a small town just north of Venice, was noticeably more nuanced in its flavours; in comparison the prosciutto crudo,while good, tasted a little flat and uninteresting. The price difference does reflect the difference in quality.
Chilli and Lemon Prawns and Garlic prawns
We thought that both these were good; a good hit of garlic or chilli, ready prepared for cooking so very simple to pop in the oven for a few minutes.
Spanish Potato Omelette
Lots of potato makes for a very satisfying omelette.
Spanish cheese in blankets
A variation on devils or angels on horseback. Stringy, gooey loveliness.
Good rillettes, without a layer of fat on top. Smooth and delicately flavoured.
Mixed Olives with Rosemary and Black Pepper
Olives. Nice olives, it’s true, with (as it says on the tin) rosemary and black pepper, but still just olives.
Overall we were really impressed with the range, and would buy again for a treat, for a party or for a present.
The Unearthed range is available from Waitrose and Ocado
Many thanks to Unearthed for all the lovely samples which they sent me.